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Molly Malone

Molly Malone

Hello there!

Summer’s here!! Some of you are already on holidays while some others are still in the office but with their minds set on those relaxing days to come!

As you know, ELTE is having  an English language immersion program in Dublin this summer so let’s cover some Irish and Dublin facts.

If you ask any Dubliner if they know what the unofficial Dublin anthem is, they would surely say “Molly Malone” or just sing the opening line “In Dublin’s fair city”, or they may also say “Cockles and Mussels”, making reference to the line that keeps repeating in the chorus.”

But, who was Molly Malone?, you may wonder. Did she ever existed and why was she famous?

The song tells the story of a  fishmonger that pulls her wheelbarrow through the streets of Dublin selling cockles and mussels. Unfortunately, not much is told about her, just that she is pretty and sweet and that she died prematurely of a fever, leaving her ghost doing her job.

In spite of its association with Dublin, the song is attributed to the Scottish songwriter James Yorkston from Edinburgh.

The famous Molly Malone statue in Dublin was first unveiled during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations in Grafton Street, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day. Nonetheless, due to some urban plans, in 2014 it was relocated to Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office, where it is daily visited by hordes of tourists.

Of course, many artists have sung this famous song though few can compare to the version recorded by The Dubliners, one of the greatest Irish folk bands. Listen to it here and fill in the gaps with the appropriate word! After you’re done, you can check it here.

Check here other interesting fish and seafood vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.

In one line of the song, we can hear “I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,” where the idiom “set one’s eyes on somebody” is used meaning “to look at somebody with attention.” In this exercise, you can practice and learn other idiomatic expressions with parts of the body. Good luck!

Have a good day

Ernest